Last time I considered one of the Bible metaphors that tries to explain what happened when Jesus died on the cross – the courtroom.
Today, we look at another one:
In order to buy a new car you have borrowed £1000 from a payday lender. You thought you would be able to repay it very quickly but you have been unable to make any payments and the interest at 4670% APR (yes, they really do charge that much!) means that the sum just keeps getting bigger and bigger. You tried paying some of it off with your credit cards, but they soon maxed out and now you are paying interest on those too.
There’s no way you will be able to repay what you owe and you just keep sinking further and further into debt. You cannot see any way out of the money trap. You feel helpless, ashamed and desperate.You are really embarrassed about having got yourself into this situation and try not to let anyone know, but eventually it becomes obvious to your family that you are up to your neck in debt and will soon go under completely.
Your father hears about the situation. Because he is your father and he loves you he cashes in his pension early and uses all of that money to pay off all of your debts. They have been paid in full. You no longer owe anything. You are free from debt.
How do you feel?
This image of the atonement takes seriously the helplessness of each one of us to deal with the consequences of our rebellion against God / falling short of his standards / sin. We can’t sort ourselves out. We owe a debt we can’t repay. But God has paid the debt for us: when Jesus died on the cross the debt was paid in full. It cost God, our Father, but the price is paid.
Variations on that story might include us owing the money and the lender writing off (or forgiving) the debt but the main point is the same – we can’t pay what we owe, but God has done it for us.
Sends a shiver down your spine when you think about it, doesn’t it?
Next time, washing day
Be blessed, be a blessing